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tv   The Ed Show  MSNBC  October 22, 2009 6:00pm-7:00pm EDT

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votes. didn't we do. nancy pelosi has locked in 218 votes for a public option in the house. >> let me just say this, i've said this and i will say it again, we will have a bill that will go to the floor and it will have a public option in it, and there is support in our caucus to do that. i said that over and over again, and i stand by it. >> all right, how did they get this done? i'm going to be asking denny hoyer in a few moments. the people's house has delivered the mail. this wasn't so long ago that reporters on this show and democrats are telling me on the program, ed, you got to get over it now, this just isn't going to happen. wait a second, the tide's coming in on this one. north dakota senator kent conrad, nebraska senator ben nelson is saying the white house is pushing them on a public option. this is a big development. a paramount shift in momentum we're seeing happen. now, how did we get here? i think two reasons. the first thing, the leadership of nancy pelosi and her role
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cannot be overstated in the house. she was flexible, she compromised on single payer, she was willing to move on details. i guess you can say she negotiated. but she drew a line in the sand on the public option. she never wavered or caved in. she's tough negotiator. she got her caucus in line and she deserves a lot of credit. that's what leadership is all about. the second thing is, you. the people of this down, spoke up. you spoke up at the polls, 57% of the american people are now supporting it. organizing for america, the group known as obama's army, has inundated congress with phone calls. this is now we beat back on the town hall mobsters this past summer, the pro reform majority came out, the majority of americans have put it to the president, and also they put him in office, obviously. and they said look, this is what we want, this is what we voted for.
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i think this cuts to the heart of the issue, standing up for what the american people want and what they voted for. they voted for change. we are so close in a health care reform bill in the senate with a strong public option. there are late developments this afternoon. all right, joining me now is pennsylvania senator arlen specter. senator, great to have you with us on the program. i'll start off on a very positive note. congratulations on your phillies for winning this thing last night and going to the world series. senator, can you tell our audience tonight that you unequivocally stand for a public option? >> i do. >> okay. and does it mean anything that late this afternoon olympia snowe says that she is not going to support immediate creation of a government-run insurance program? all told right now, she says it might not get done this year. what do you make of this development? >> well, we have 60 votes
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without senator snowe, so we can still invoke cloture and move to a vote on the public option. we have flexibility. there may be some democratic senators who will vote on the procedural motion to go ahead to cut off the filibuster and then may choose to vote against the public option. but with 50 votes plus the vice president and my vote is going to be for the public option, robust public option, we can get it passed, even without senator snowe. i hope we have her, but we may be able to do it without her. >> senator, you're in a tight race in pennsylvania. you and mr. toomey are very close. does this affect your position on the public option? >> no, i'm going to vote my
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conscience on the best public policy. i approved the tough stimulus package earlier this year with all the political risk involved, that i was prepared to do what was in the best interest of the country without respect to an election. >> so this has absolutely no effect at all, you're going to be there when the time comes. what about this conversation today about the opt-out, do you think that that could be a way that would get 60 votes when the time comes to get a vote and avoid reconciliation, that if you go with allowing the states to opt out on the public option, what's your take on that? >> well, i think that might be attractive to some people, but i don't think that will be necessary either. my sense is listen, you never know what the vote is going to be until the roll is called. but the likelihood is that there are 50 plus votes among the democrats in the senate to have
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a robust public option without an opt-out, without a trigger, without any condition. we'll have to see. >> you would go along with reconciliation? >> only as a last, last, last resort. i think it is highly undesirable to affect the institution of 60 votes on proceeding. you got a very difficult situation in the senate today. you have so much partisanship and in the house. joe wilson standing up and calling the president a liar. and it may be necessary to fight fire with fire, but that's a step i would not like to take. but listen, i'm not going to negotiate on a sound bite on television. i'm going to resist reconciliati reconciliation. i don't think we need to get to it, i don't think we will get to it. >> senator, the 60 votes, joe
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lieberman said yesterday she's not for a public option. that would leave you short of 60 votes. >> senator lieberman has not ruled out the possibility of voting for cloture and voting for the public option. this is inside politics but it's different when you vote for cloture as opposed to when you vote on the substantive matter. >> true. >> and cloture is a procedural vote and i think some people very frequently, a senator will vote for cloture and vote against the bill. that's been done repeatedly. there is a difference. >> in your opinion, will there be any republicans that will step on and help the leadership out with health care reform? you're looking at a party that you left, that is sitting right now at 20%. only 20% of the american people are willing to say and identify them selves with the republican party. isn't that a message to harry reid that you might as well do it alone?
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>> well, i think you have to, ed. we faced this issue on the stimulus. and aside from senator snowe, senator collins and arlen specter, nobody would talk to the democrats. and you have very plain senator demint on the record that this is going to be president obama's waterloo, that they're going to use this to break him. and this is the party of no, no, no. and i don't think it's realistic to look for any support aside from senator snowe, maybe senator collins. i might be surprised by somebody but i don't think so. >> senator, thanks so much. >> just invite me and i'll be here. it's right on campus. i hang out here in the rotunda all the time. just invite me. >> good to have you with us, senator. >> thank you. >> senator arlen specter with us tonight.
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this health care fight is really a defining moment for democrats and i can't believe that we're questioning whether the democratic majority will support universal health care. it's corner stone of the party platform. if democrats can't stand up at this point, what do they stand for? i got into a heated debate last night with steve mcman. take a look. >> there are 48 members of the democratic caucus in the house who are from districts that john mccain carried. john mccain beat barack obama in the districts of 48 members. >> but they want health care. they want health care and they want reform and they are cowards is what they are! they're political cowards. >> most of those people want health care reform but they don't want a public option. a democratic majority is more important than a public option. >> no, no. i respect you, i do not buy that for a moment. and i tell you -- >> she won't be speaker, eric cantor will be speaker if 84 members go down on their swords.
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>> there's all kinds of opinions out there. i don't agree with that. i believe that americans went to the polls because they wanted change. not because they wanted a democratic majority. this is a defining moment for leadership of the democratic party to realize that if they miss this opportunity and don't finish the lap on health care reform in this country, they're going to pay a price at the polls next year. people don't care about the majority. this is all about getting something done. how about do you think yankee fans would be happy to see them win the world serery it is they didn't have any all-star players? do you think the yankees want them to win the world series or just have bunch of great players? get your cell phones out. what's more important, having a democratic majority or a public option? text a for a democratic majority and b for a public option to 622639. we'll bring you the results later on.
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joining me now is a long-time columnist for the hill, he's been around the hill and knows this for a long time. great to have you back with us, brent. what is your take at this hour? do you believe that the american people are just so happy to have a democratic majority, or do they want health care reform that's going to do something to change people's lives? >> ed, at this hour, we are within reach of a historic breakthrough and defining moment in the obama presidency. first, let me give a standing ovation to the speaker of the house, nancy pelosi. she is a bedrock of honor and principle and fight. let me give a standing ovation to steny hoyer who is coming on soon. and what's happening right now is the president is meeting as we speak or very soon with harry reid and the democratic leadership. if the president calls senate democrats and says, your president needs you to end the filibuster on the public option, i predict we will get 60
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democratic votes to end it. if senator lieberman chooses to vote against them, i suspect we ought to be talking about taking away his chairmanship, which was given to him by democratic leaders for supporting the democratic party now, even though he attacked president obama and defamed president obama one year ago this week. we are within reach of history. where i disagree with steve very, very strongly, and i worked for the house democratic leadership and i never lost an election in 19 years up there with anyone i ever worked for, is that 60% of the people support the public option. the voters in maine support the public option. the voters in many of these districts that include blue dogs and conservative democrats support the public option. >> what are they afraid of? i said last night they're afraid of the insurance industry and the medical industry because it's hard to raise political money in rural states. and i think that has a lot to do with it. they're protecting their own backyard. >> i have a column tomorrow, you
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can read it on thehill.com tonight. it's one group or former liberal staff people who go out, raise money to support the insurance, the polluters, the price fixers. they basically sell out to make a lot of money and then go back to those guys on the hill and raise money for them. they try to persuade them. where steve is wrong is he's not counting the votes right in the house or back home. >> quickly, one more thing. this 218 votes in the house really sends a message to the white house, they are there. now it's time to put the heat on the senate. we're very close. would you say that? >> we're on the 5 yard line and if the president goes all out, we win. >> all right. let's see who he calls to play. brent, appreciate your time tonight. >> take care. coming up, nancy pelosi says she wants more when it comes to the public option, but some of those blue dogs won't stop barking.
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majority leader steny hoyer has the tounlts when we come back. and shooter says president obama is deathering over afghanistan. tom tancredo back with us to duke it out. we're right back on "the ed show" on msnbc. stay with us. protecting your heart includes watching your cholesterol. now there's new heart health advantage from bayer. its non-aspirin formula contains phytosterols, which may reduce the risk of heart disease... by lowering bad cholesterol. new heart health advantage from bayer.
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are you aiming for -- do you have a goal of a higher number of votes? >> i always want more. >> is there any goal, a number or 230? >> the goal will be where we have a comfort level in our caucus to go forward. but we are at a place where the level of respect for everyone's point of view is increased, that people are listening to each other. whatever it is, i think it will be a good vote. we will send our negotiators to the table with a strong commitment for a public option. >> nancy pelosi holding the line on a public option. she says the democrats have 218 votes. for more on that, joining me now is democratic majority leader, congressman steny hoyer. >> hi, get, good to be with you. >> do you have 218 votes? i would like to hear it from you and i know our audience would
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too. >> i think we have 218 votes. the bill is not completely done, but we're working, working hard. as we have in the past, we think we're going to pass this bill. >> what does this do to the senate, if anything? the momentum of the whole thing, that you've achieved this 218 mark and you can move forward with a public option, what does it do to the process? >> i certainly think that when the house passes a bill, and you know, ed, we said we're going to give substantial notice to people, so we have days to go before we put this of the floor. but when we pass this bill, it will give us momentum. it will send a signal to the senate that we believe the overwhelming majority of the american public want health reform. we think significant majority want to support this bill and it will end a message to the senate for movement. it will help senator reid and the proponents of the bill in
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the senate. >> i know you're aware of what dick cheney had to say last night, and also the republican leadership has been very critical of the president on afghanistan. almost to the point of saying that president obama is making us weaker and isn't decisive and can't protect the country. your response to that? >> let me say something. there are 28,000 more troops in afghanistan right now than when george bush was president of the united states. george bush took his eye off and the republicans took their eye off. dick cheney took his eye off the ball in afghanistan. went over to iraq, and didn't finish the job in afghanistan. the reason president obama is now considering what needs to be done in afghanistan is because the former administration didn't complete the job they started to do. the taliban has been resurgent. al qaeda is present. mccrystal is right, they pose a danger. we got to stabilize that
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country. it's critical from the stand point of terrorism. it's critical from the standpoint of pakistan, which is critically important. but for dick cheney or any other republican leader to criticize president obama, who is carefully trying to figure out with our military leadership, with his advisers, the best successful policy that we can pursue in afghanistan, i think is totally unjustified from an administration, particularly a leader in the administration, that took their eye off the ball in afghanistan and left us eight years later in the position we're now in. >> the country is shifting on afghanistan, congressman hoyer. will there be support from the house, majority of support from the house if the president decides to send thousands more troops to afghanistan? how much will the progressive caucus fight this? >> ed, i don't want to anticipate what the president is going to decide. therefore, i don't want to speculate on what the support will or will not be.
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but i am confident that president obama is looking at this very, very carefully to determine how we can be successful in not leaving an afghanistan that then becomes an additional center or back to a center of terrorist activity and attacks on the united states. i think he's well aware of the sentiment in the party and aware of the sentiment in the country. i think the president is absolutely committed to doing what he believes is in the best interest of the safety of our country. >> mr. majority leader, the republicans are banging away at the democrats and the obama administration on job creation. do you think yesterday's development on getting t.a.r.p. money to community banks, do you think that's going to have an impact and when do you think those job numbers will turn around because of that move? >> i think it will have an impact. but let me say the job numbers have turned around. we've lost a third less jobs or two-third less jobs this past
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couple of months than we lost in december and november of last year. so we're going in the right direction. we eastern not where we need to be. we need to have a plus report on job creation. we need to have jobs for people. we're going to take additional efforts to accomplish more jobs in america. but hopefully the action was taken yesterday, and the actions in the administration has taken, and we will take legislatively in the days to come will help us get there. >> steny hoyer, always a pleasure. >> thank you, ed. coming up, michele bachmann, another damdy for us. she's attacking fellow republicans like bob dole, bill frist, for being nonpro-freedom? i'll get to the bottom of this. you know what's coming up next. it's "psycho talk."
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and it's time for another edition of "psycho talk." back in "psycho talk," michele bachmann. this is not minnesota. she went on the radio yesterday and just didn't rip on democrats but trashed members of her own party. listen up. >> presided over a disastrous situation.
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>> a non-pro-freedom agenda? what can frist and dole have done to deserve that label? frist endorsed the senate financial health bill. and bob dole had the audacity to admit there is a health care crisis in this country and the republicans ought to get onboard and do something about it. now, straying from the just say no gop party line, apparently is enough to qualify you as anti-freedom. this confirms that balkman and her righty cronies have abandoned any pretense of rationality and all that's left is "psycho talk." coming up, speaking of "psycho talk," dick cheney has the nerve to say that the president seems afraid to make a
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decision on afghanistan that. he's got to do what it takes to win the war. well, dick, you spent years getting us in this mess. tom tancredo and joe walsh will be here. plus, if you think listening to britney spears might be tough as times, you have something in common with the detainees at gitmo. a gro stay with us. what's our favorite part of honey bunches of oats? the sparkly flakes. the honey-baked bunches! the magic's in the mix. my favorite part? eating it. honey bunches of oats. taste the joy we put in every spoonful.
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welcome back to "the ed show." okay, dick cheney is back at it. last night he crawled out of his bunker to accept a keeper of the flame award from the center for security policy. and shooter took the opportunity to slam president obama and the white house for delaying a strategy decision on afghanistan. >> having announced his afghanistan strategy in march,
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president obama now seems afraid to make a decision. the white house must stop dithering while america's armed forces are in danger. indecision out of washington embolden our adversaries. waffling while our troops on the ground face an emboldened enemy endangers them and hurts our cause. >> joining me now is editor in chief, salon.com joan walsh and former republican congressman colorado, tom tancredo. before we get our discussion going, i want to play this sound cut from robert gibbs, communications director of the white house. this was his response today to mr. cheney's appearance at the b bank wet last night. >> it's safe to say that the vice president was, for seven years, not focused on afghanistan. what vice president cheney calls
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dithering, president obama calls his solemn responsibility to the men and women in uniform and to the american public. i think we've all seen what happens when somebody doesn't take that responsibility seriously. >> mr. tancredo, is the vice president correct? what should the president of the united states do on afghanistan? >> indecision is probably one of the worst things that you can have in the persona of a commander in chief. and that's exactly what we've got and that's exactly what he was pointing out, remember, comprehensive strategy, that was what they used, that was the term they used to describe the policy that they adopted in march. it happened to be, by the way, the bush policy. now, we find that out today, even though rahm emanuel said that wasn't true. in fact, it was the bush policy. it was passed on to them in the transition. they accepted it. and pronounced it the
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comprehensive strategy -- >> tom, okay, i got you. >> six months later -- >> but how did this situation in afghanistan deteriorate, tom? i mean, come on, obama got elected, it was a mess over there. does the bush administration do everything right in afghanistan? >> well, listen, things change on the ground, that's absolutely true. but what you do is you give your commanders on the ground the responsibility to implement the strategy you say you've adopted. >> joan walsh, what's your response to this? >> we need more troops and -- >> may i talk? >> go ahead, joan. >> i think it's ridiculous. i think the vice president is an expert in dithering. that's why he's talking about dithering because they dithered for several years in afghanistan and led the taliban come back and let an insurgency spring up because we took our eye off the ball and went into iraq for an unnecessary war. so this is what president obama inherited.
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as to the question to whether he inmemented the baush strategy, that is ridiculous. there was a troop increase request sitting on the president's desk when he came in. it had been sitting there for eight months. why didn't mr. cheney come out of his bunker -- >> tom, respond to that, why was it sitting on the desk for eight months, tom? >> i can't tell you what they were talking about at the time, but now there's general agreement that, in fact, when the transition team was in effect, when they were transferring power to the obama administration, they gave him a very, very comprehensive policy to follow. he then looked at it. and in march essentially adopted it. it was the plan that the bush team gave to him. >> they should have implemented it a few years ago. this is ridiculous. >> hey, listen, all they're telling him, here are your
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options, you take it. he did take it. he accepted the policy. now he's saying, not sure, i don't know where to go. >> well, the conditions in the country have changed, tom. >> he put in an additional 21,000 additional troops. >> the president needs a war czar, somebody he can -- >> i think that's disrespectful. >> because he can't make it himself, evidently. just because you say it doesn't make it that way. >> it is ridiculous. he's our commander in chief -- >> that's the only argument that you can use. >> joan, let me ask you -- >> you sound ridiculous. >> joan, i want -- >> using that as an argument. >> all right, tom. joan, i want to ask you about the election. obviously, the election has had something to do with all of this, with the strategy. but now the white house has said they want a partner going in. how does that change the dynamic? >> of course it changes the dynamic enormously. he did not know who he's
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partnering with yet. there is going to be a runoff and we have no reason to feel confident in the result of the runoff. we have to hope there's a clear victor. for that reason alone, the president needs to pause before implementing any strategy and for the vice president to say anyone is afraid when he spent his entire vice presidency in a secret bunker, when he had five deferments from vietnam because he had -- >> that's ridiculous. >> he's the coward who sent other people's children to die in a war in iraq is -- >> all right, joan walsh, tom tancredo, appreciate your time tonight. thanks so much. we will continue the discussion later on. all right, let me also bring in former cia officer jack rice on this. and wtkk radio talk show host michael graham is with us tonight. jack, what is the call of the
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president? whose fault is it that afghanistan is where it is? how much responsibility does president obama have to bear on this for what has happened in the last eight, nine months? >> afghanistan was a disaster before he took office. i don't give much credibility to vice president cheney. i have about as much trust in him here as i would in teaching a gun safety class. so what's the point? there is no credibility from this guy. >> what's the right call, mr. graham, what do you think? >> the right call is not talking about dick cheney's vietnam problem. chief, you got the troops on the ground in afghanistan. all they need is a strategy. it is hilarious watching this. >> michael, are you -- wait a minute. michael, you're saying that the election really shouldn't matter, we should just throw troops in there right now and have at it? >> are you saying that if the wrong guy wins, abdullah
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abdullah or karzai, we're going to pull our troops out based on the election? >> i'm asking you what you want the president to do? we have all these right wing experts talking about what the problem is, but they couldn't solve the problem for eight years under bush. so what do you want president obama to do? >> we had a successful election in afghanistan under president bush and the reason why the taliban came back -- al qaeda came back is because we kicked their asses out of iraq. >> you're ripping on president obama for no strategy but you can't tell us what you want him to do. >> first of all, my answer is mccrystal said this is counterinsurgency, listen to your general. i'm not president of the united states. i didn't spend a year running for president and then show up in january and go, afghana who? he has no strategy now. he had time to go bend for the
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olympics for his hometown. i was in cape cod when he should have been reading the report from mccrystal. >> jack rice, what are your thoughts, is the president being too slow in making a decision on afghanistan? is there room for criticism here? >> not even close. under the circumstances. by the way, ed, you're right when it comes to the question of the election. if what we have seen here is a full third of the votes that were apparently fraudulent. the americans are either supporting an illegitimate regime, the other option is that they're simply invading on what have -- on behalf of america. either way, that's a disaster. >> michael graham -- hang on, mike. i want to go to this now. if dick cheney keeps going out, is he hurting the party talking
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like this? the republicans are now at 20%, only 20% of the american people say that they want to be identified as republicans right now. how is this a good strategy? >> i think the more that anybody articulates the common sense of having a commander in chief that commands, you're going to win. this is dick cheney's arena. he's talking about foreign policy, it's his bailey wick. >> it's gone really well with afghanistan. those first seven years, great work. >> compared to the last nine months, it was great work. i still don't understand, you're saying if abdullah or karzai wins, we're going to get out? why wouldn't we have a policy based on america's interest in the region? >> the only way we can have a legitimate effort in there, if we're supporting the government that's in power, if they're seen as illegitimate by the people of afghanistan -- if you're talking
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about insurgencies, final. if we're going to support the people to stop an insurgency, if we're ever seen as illegitimate, we cannot win. those are mccrystal's words. >> so if karzai wins and he wasn't supposed to, so we leave? if you're going to fight terror and try to keep pakistan from going the wrong way on the outcome of a goat herder voting, we don't need a president. >> so the final word here, michael, is that no matter what happens with the afghan people, damn it, the united states is going in there because we think if we're not there we're going to get hit again, that's where you are? >> our strategy in the region depends on the outcome of a local region -- what is the wrong outcome? >> i'll ask the questions. good to have you was tonight. some day you'll get your own show. thank you.
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it's self propelled. introducing the 60-day satisfaction guarantee, buy a new chevy and if you don't love it, we'll take it back. in my "playbook" tonight, can we stop crying foul over bonuses. here's what the president had to say about it today.
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>> i always believed that our free system of enterprise works best when it rewards hard work. this is america. we don't disparage wealth, we believe in success. but it does offend our values when executives of big financial firms, firms that are struggles, pay themselves huge bonuses as they continue to rely on taxpayer assistance. >> it's about your conscience, isn't it? of course they're paying themselves huge bonuses. the government gave them a lump sum of money and didn't tell them what to do with it, they said okay, go save yourself because we can't have you fail. this is how wall street operates. they're about making money. now, i understand it's a moral issue and a lot of people are upset about it, but it's ridiculous, i think, for the obama administration to come out and start pointing fingers when it was the bush administration and the obama administration that didn't do the due diligence on this on exactly where the money was going to go. joining me now is david walker,
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former u.s. comptroller general, now the president and ceo of the peter g. peterson foundation. good to have you with us tonight. >> good to be back with you, ed. >> you bet. what does it mean that these bonuses are taken away? could it fundamentally change how wall street works and how profit could be put out to stockholders in these companies, what do you think? >> look, here's the big deal, ed. you got it right. the bush administration, and the obama administration, did not clearly define objectives, set out criteria who should get the money, what the conditions are for the money. there's no question there's a problem with executive compensation. but frankly, they don't make most of their money in base pay, they make it in equity compensation. so you need to change the incentives, not just for those that are receiving assistance. we need to change incentives across the board, and that's the
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job of board of directors. that's what they're supposed to do. >> and they, of course, are out there trying to make money. unless they're regulated on how they're operating, it's going to be business as usual. so really, the bush and obama administration, they did what they had to do to save it, but they didn't give them any marching orders on exactly, okay, this is how you're going to operate. so the fundamental question now is, once they get this straightened out, do you think mr. walker, that the money will eventually come back to the treasury and the taxpayer will be on the positive end of the deal on this, because of the 5%, what do you think? >> i think we're going to end up recovering part of our investment, no question. do i think we're going to recover all of our investment? no, i don't. should there be reasonable limits on compensation for people getting money from taxpayers? yes. but the bigger problem the executive comp overall and we need to learn if you're going to pass out a bunch of money, you need to have clearly defined
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objectives established up front. we didn't do it. we need to do it in the future. >> that's right. yesterday the president came out and is allocating t.a.r.p. money to community banks. he wants to stimulate job growth in this country. do you think this is a formula that can work, the t.a.r.p. money going to community banks at 3% to hopefully create jobs, will this work? >> it's hard to say. do they have conditions? do they have criteria? do they have clearly defined objectives? are they measurable on an outcome basis? are the people that are getting the money, do they need the money, do they want the money? you know, what's the answer to these questions? i don't know. >> good to have you with us, mr. walker. good to see you. >> bye-bye. coming up, in order to create jobs in this country, the president has got to get some skin in the game, make capital available to small businesses. what we've been talking about. senator jeff merkley is the man
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welcome back to "the ed show." yesterday, president obama announced a plan to get credit flowing to small businesses. a major part involves redirecting t.a.r.p. funds to smaller community banks to engage them in increasing lending to small businesses. all right, so senator jeff merkley and barbara boxer introduced legislation yesterday that would do just that.
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senator jeff merkley of oregon joins me now on "the ed show." i think we need a number of dynamics to come into place here. got to have demand, credit andbacks willing to do this. is the table set to match your legislation with this? >> ed, the table is set. this legislation is the result of many discussions held with community banks. community banks want to make loans but they don't have the capital that gives them sufficient ability to make those loans. small businesses have long-term relationships with community banks. they're saying hey, to create jobs and put our company back in the economy, we need to borrow and banks are saying, sorry, we can't do it. meanwhile, a third piece of this, let's take some of those funds that would otherwise go to wall street and just a third of the funds that went in to bank of america would fund equity for 1,900 community banks across
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this nation, make loans to small businesses, put people back to work. >> is there fine print that's going to slow the process? the obama administration needs to get job numbers turned around quickly. i've had a lot of small people tell me they've got great credit but can't get money. is this going to alleviate all of that? >> i don't think there's any magic wand that will alleviate all of it. but the community banks want to raise capital, but the folks who might invest say we want to know this community bank is going to be here in a year. so what this plan does is it puts the community banks through a stress test, gives confidence to the individual investors, matches those investors dollar for dollar to recapitalize these community banks. that would really get rid of a major log jam. >> how confident are you that these community banks are going to participate in this? there are a number of banks they don't want anything to do with the t.a.r.p. money. life was good, they were making money, not as much as they were
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before, but they were stable. why do they want to get involved in this? >> the reason is they want to make money. they make money by making loans. if they don't have enough capital, they're stuck. so they can raise more capital through this partnership. >> why can't the government just guaranty the loan and why doesn't the government say, look, we're going to give you this money to be the facilitator, you can't charge more than 3. 5%. that would get it going, would it not? >> if the government guaranties the loans, we lose all the value of the judgment that those community banks have. they understand who is running the local businesses, they understand the local economy, they know a good versus bad investment. i don't think what we want to do is take away the situation where the banks have skin in the game. they need to know that their profit is at stake on their judgment. >> why is this happening now? why wasn't this happening six months ago? >> that's a great question.
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i wish i had put this bill together together six months. it makes all the sense in the world. to your point, it would have been great six months ago. >> i have to tell you, senator, nothing to do with you, but it makes me a little nervous about the obama economic team. we've been talking about this for months on end. the american people have been talking about it. i think this is shooting from the hip reaction to all of this. i know they've had other programs involved, but the tight credit and tight money has set the table for no job creation. they have not created the jobs and i think this will work. i do. if there's no fine print to hold people up and i commend you on this bill. quickly, what's the latest on the public option? >> over on the floor, advocating for the public option. we were doing a kind of group of senators talking together, and
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the points we were making is that the public option is all about competition. we don't have competition in health care insurance. and in addition, therefore, it's about individual choice. each of us has had dozens of stories -- >> do you give it 50/50, a 75% chance? >> 95%. >> i love it. >> the momentum is there. this is so critical to giving citizens choice with just -- it's within reach. >> great to have you with us tonight. thank you. earlier i asked our audience what is more important, having a democratic majority or a public option? 7% say a democratic majority. 93% say a public option. you just heard it right off the floor. we're almost there. and i was told on this program, give it up, ed. never. that's "the ed show." "hardball" with chris matthews is next. back tomorrow night. have a great one. cheney.

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